Pro has today announced a new month-long strike to take place from 25 November to 22 December. According to Pro, the terms of employment applied in the company are the reason for the strike. What makes it absurd is that the strike targets a company in a dispute that was already resolved in September. Back then, the Labour Court unanimously stated that Kotidata may apply the terms of the Collective Agreement for the Commercial Sector. According to Pro’s demands, the strikes would end if Kotidata would agree to give all employees a pay increase of approximately EUR 500. This groundless demand is supported through strikes that risk losing jobs.
Pro has pounded on Kotidata for four months already and organised six strikes, four of them illegal. In addition, it has defamed the company terribly in public. The dispute has been vigorously mediated with the National Conciliator for months already. The latest negotiations for settlement proved unsuccessful and ended on Monday 9 November due to Pro’s unyielding approach. Pro has not been willing to compromise on its pay demands one bit. It rejected local bargaining as a solution. Kotidata, the Finnish Commerce Federation and PAM would have been able to agree on a local solution to be built in cooperation with employees in the company based on the Collective Agreement for the Commercial Sector.
“This situation is unfathomable in many ways. By refusing local solutions and the settlement of individual employment disputes, Pro is not willing to be a part of the solution. Pro blames the employer for the crisis of confidence, but how are the strikes organised by Pro building trust at the workplace?” says Anna Lavikkala, Labour Market Director at the Finnish Commerce Federation.
The other parties to the dispute would be willing to reconcile the worries employees have but, in reality, the EUR 430–570 increase in the guaranteed wages in accordance with the Collective Agreement for the ICT Sector is the only term that is of importance to Pro.
“This is baseless. This is a purely political crusade aimed at expanding the application of the Collective Agreement for the ICT Sector,” Lavikkala says.
Pro’s strikes are a blatant and even fatal example of the serious problems the Finnish system of industrial peace faces. It also shows that Pro does not respect the status and role of the Labour Court.
“In fact, Pro is ready to bring Kotidata down through its strikes and willing to sacrifice the jobs of the employees in order to reach its political objectives as an association. Does the end justify the means? Who thinks that it is right and justified that the Finnish system of industrial peace enables this?” Lavikkala asks.
Strikes are the basic right of employees, but this does not mean that all sorts of behaviour towards the employer are justified. The law requires that, regardless of strikes, employees must always behave appropriately and be loyal to their employer.
“Labour disputes should be resolved somewhere other than in social media. Unfortunately, discussions there have repeatedly turned into online shaming and slandering of Kotidata’s management,” Lavikkala says.
For further information, please contact: Anna Lavikkala, Labour Market Director, the Finnish Commerce Federation, tel. +358 400 406 088, email@example.com